U.S. Marines ponder operating STOVL F-35Bs from Japanese helicopter carriers

U.S. Marines ponder operating STOVL F-35Bs from Japanese helicopter carriers
Yes, she really is that big. Japanese helicopter-carrying destroyer JS Izumo (DDH-183) photographed with a U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. (Image: Wikipedia; Superimposed double image by author/LU. Originator: By 海上自衛隊 - https://www.facebook.com/JMSDF.PAO.fp/, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link)

[Ed. – Japan’s Izumo and Kaga helo-carrying amphibious ships are their largest warships, even bigger than the U.S. Wasp-class for size.  Plenty of deck.  Obviously the technical considerations must be vetted, but this will be a political decision — and a big one.  Russia and China are charging hard at the U.S. alliances in the Far East.]

Officials in Tokyo have requested Marines deploy F-35B fighters aboard Japan’s largest warships, a U.S. defense official confirmed to USNI News on Friday. …

The warships were originally designed to field a fleet of anti-submarine warfare helicopters and respond to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. However, in December Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a move to convert the two ships to field the STOVL F-35s in parallel with Japan’s purchase of 42 F-35Bs, reported The Diplomat.

In March, the Abe government asked then-Marine commandant Gen. Robert Neller if the U.S. would consider deploying Marine F-35Bs from Izumo and Kaga, reported The Asahi Shimbun earlier this week.

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